Fall has finally come to Cape Girardeau! Even though the temperatures are getting cooler, it's a beautiful time of year to head out for a motorcycle ride in southeast Missouri. In this post, our auto accident lawyers discuss a few useful safety tips to help area motorcyclists prepare for an autumn ride.
Ride safe this fall: Tips for Cape Girardeau motorcyclists
• Be safe, be seen. All too many motorcycle-car accidents happen because other drivers simply aren't aware of motorcycles traveling near them. And when the temperatures drop, drivers are even less likely to expect to encounter motorcyclists on the road. To help make themselves more visible, riders can wear reflectors along with clothing and protective gear in brighter colors. In addition, a motorcycle's lights and turn signals can make it easier to spot in low-light conditions.
• Anticipate, but don't assume. Seasoned riders know that riding safely requires being attentive to vehicles traveling nearby. It's always good to think ahead - to anticipate another driver's actions - but it's dangerous to assume that a driver knows you're there and will adjust his/her maneuvers accordingly. Err on the side of caution: do your best to be predictable, signal your intentions, and avoid traveling in other vehicles' blind spots.
• Dress for the ride. Cold temperatures can cause fatigue and impair your driving performance. And it's no secret to motorcyclists that it's always colder on a bike than it is outside. Check the forecast before you head out to ride and pack the gear you'll need to stay comfortable given weather conditions. On especially cold days, wear your leather (including gloves and non-skid boots without laces), make "warm up" stops frequently, and stay hydrated.
• Be prepared to encounter hazards. During the autumn months, glare is sometimes a problem for all motorists, since the sun's position is lower in the sky. In addition, dead leaves on the road can be slippery, particularly in shaded areas, and they can mask other potential hazards like potholes and loose gravel. After dark, when the temperature drops, remember that bridges and overpasses can become slick extremely quickly. Riders would also do well to remember that Missouri's deer population tends to be more active at this time of year: be sure to use extra caution when riding on roads near wooded areas and those marked with deer crossing signs.
For more information about motorcycle safety, area events and legal issues, please visit our motorcycle blog, Ozarks on Two Wheels. Happy riding!